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GLOBAL PRODUCTS

3
MP P
21st
Century
Skills Library

GLOBAL PRODUCTS

MP3 P

Robert Green

Cherry Lake Publishing


A n n A r b o r, M i c h i g a n
Published in the United States of America by Cherry Lake Publishing
Ann Arbor, MI
www.cherrylakepublishing.com

Content Adviser: Professor Ken Pohlmann, Director of the Music Engineering


Technology Program, Frost School of Music, University of Miami

Photo Credits: Cover and page 1, © Jim Craigmyle/Corbis; page 14, © Christopher J. Morris/
Corbis; page 22, © Shepard Sherbell/Corbis SABA; page 25, © TWPhoto/Corbis

Copyright ©2008 by Cherry Lake Publishing


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any
form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


MP3 players / by Robert Green.
p. cm. — (Global products)
ISBN-13: 978-1-60279-026-1
ISBN-10: 1-60279-026-4
1. Digital music players—Juvenile literature. 2. Digital music players—Design and
construction—Juvenile literatre. 3. Globalization—Juvenile literature. I. Title. II. Series.
ML74.G74 2008
621.389'33—dc22 2007003896

Cherry Lake Publishing would like to acknowledge the work of


The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
Please visit www.21stcenturyskills.org for more information.
T 
C
 

C H A P T E R O N E

A Twenty-First-Centur y Technology 4

C H A P T E R T W O

A Tale of Two Chinas 8

C H A P T E R T H R E E

From the Factor y to the Consumer 13

C H A P T E R F O U R

A Still Bigger Picture 18

C H A P T E R F I V E

Up the Ladder 22

Map 28

Glossar y 30

For More Information 31

Index 32

About the Author 32


CHAPTER ONE

A T -F -C 


T



The skyline of Taipei, Taiwan, is dominated by the building known


as Taipei 101. It is one of the tallest buildings in the world.

M ei-ying Chao, a gangly junior high school girl, tried hard not to giggle
as she watched her guests fumbling with their chopsticks. She knew it
would be rude to laugh at them. Her guests, Fritz and Anna, were German
students visiting Taiwan on a school trip. They were staying with Mei-ying
and her family for the week. Not only did they have to contend with the
wilting heat and the dripping humidity of the island nation, but they also

4 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


struggled to fill their bellies by grasping little morsels of steaming fish and
rice with the two wooden sticks that are used in place of a fork in Asia.
“Have you seen the new iPod nano?” asked Fritz, trying to distract the
others from the rice he had just dropped down the front of his shirt. “It’s
smaller than the old ones and holds even more music.” He was referring to
one kind of portable music player commonly known as an MP3 player.
“Yes, I know,” said Mei-ying, easily tossing steaming bits of delicious
fish into her mouth. “They are made in Taiwan.”
“But Apple is an American company,” said Anna.
“Yes,” said Mei-ying, “but they hire Taiwanese companies to
manufacture the iPods.”
“But I’m sure they are made in China,” said Fritz.
“Well, yes,” said Mei-ying, her mouth stinging from the fiery peppers in
the food and her temper rising, “but by Taiwanese companies.”
“Yes, but Germans created the technology,” Fritz claimed.
Mei-ying had had just about enough, so she decided to treat her
guests to one last dish—smelly tofu. “These steamy blocks of bean curd
are a specialty in Taiwan, much like Stilton cheese is in England,” she
explained with an impish grin. Fritz and Anna just pinched their noses
and fled the table.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 5


What both Mei-ying and her guests said was true. The iPod, a tiny
portable music player made by Apple Inc., an American company, requires
the skills of many people around the world. The reason the device can
hold so much music—an entire music collection—is the result of German
technology, and the iPod is made in China by Taiwanese companies.
In 1991, a team of German scientists discovered that they could
squeeze music into a tiny format for digital storage. All music has some
sounds that cannot be heard by the listener. Also, the music itself covers
some noise and distortion. By removing these bits of unwanted sounds,
and by allowing some of the inaudible noise to occur, audio engineers

Digital audio players are lightweight, portable,


and can hold hundreds of songs.

6 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


21Century
st

could greatly reduce the amount of data needed to


record music. The result was that a song could be
Content
Music is protected by
COPYRIGHT, a legal right
compressed into a form that made it easy to store on
that ensures that only
a computer. This was known as the MPEG-1 Audio musicians and their
official representatives
Layer III format, or MP3.
(such as record
Today, the portable devices that store companies) make
money from their songs.
compressed music are known as MP3 players,
This protection allows
named after the original format for storing music musicians to earn a
living and to keep
in digital form. Many of the players use other
making music.
technical methods to compress music—methods Digital music
downloaded by
such as Advanced Audio Coding and Windows
computer threatened
Media Audio. But because of the popularity of the this. When people
began to share music
MP3 method, digital audio players are usually just
through the Internet,
called MP3 players. record companies
went to court to stop
The MP3 player was not launched until 1997,
them from doing this.
when a Korean company made a portable storage But the courts ruled
that music could be
device for compressed music files. In the late 1990s,
shared by computer
many companies were competing to create smaller as long as it was paid
for. The record industry
digital audio players that could store more music.
responded by getting
In 2001, Apple Inc. launched its first iPod, and the into the business itself.
Today, most record
popularity of digital audio players soared.
labels sell music online.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 7


CHAPTER TWO

A T
T
C 

M ei-ying’s curiosity had been sparked by her debate with Fritz and
Anna. Now she approached them with a proposal.
“I say we get to the bottom of this debate. Let’s head over to my laptop
and search for the answers online. Maybe then we will find out who really
came up with the technology for the MP3 player.”
Fritz and Anna looked at each other. Inspired by the challenge, they all
raced over to the laptop computer to start their research!

Shanghai is the largest city of the People’s Republic of


China and one of the world’s busiest ports.

8 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


Fritz was skeptical of Mei-ying’s claim about the Taiwanese. “So you
say that Taiwanese companies in China are responsible for making MP3
players. What else do these companies make?” Fritz asked.
“Let’s search online to find the answer,” Anna suggested.
“Where should I start looking?” Mei-ying asked.
“Try one of the search engines. Maybe it can tell us something,” Anna said.
Fritz, looking on while the two girls tried to find some answers online,
waited eagerly to see what they would discover.

To understand the complicated way in which MP3 players are made,
one must learn something about the unusual tale of the two Chinas.
China, the vast East Asian nation that has more people than any other
country in the world, has a tiny rival, at least in name. The official name of
mainland China is the People’s Republic of China. But because of a civil
war—which caused one government of China to flee to a small offshore
island—another China exists. That China is the Republic of China, more
commonly known as Taiwan.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Taiwan became an important international
manufacturing center. Owners of many foreign companies found that
the Taiwanese were skilled at making products. They made deals with
Taiwanese manufacturers to produce toys, bicycles, and other relatively

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 9


Tiny microchips hold a lot of information and are used in
making many products such as MP3 players and computers.

simple goods that their companies could sell back home and in other
countries. The business that Taiwanese companies drew to the island made
the people richer—and famous for manufacturing.
In the 1990s, companies in Taiwan began to make more complicated
products, especially electronic components, such as the little microchips

10 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


found in electrical goods and computers. As
earning
Taiwan got richer, however, the workers in Taiwan
demanded higher pay. Manufacturers wondered I &
nnovation
Skills

The global economy—


where they could find the many workers they needed
the interconnection of
who would be willing to work for lower wages. economic transactions
between countries—
They turned to China—the China across the water
often operates
from their island. Its giant population provided all the separately from politics.
Although China and
inexpensive workers a factory owner could hope for.
Taiwan do not have
And what made it all so easy was that the Taiwanese, an official political
relationship, they do
who had originally come from China, spoke the same
business with each
language and had many of the same customs. other every day. As
more countries have
Today, the two Chinas are separated both by a
adopted a capitalist
body of water known as the Taiwan Strait and by economy, this web of
business connections
politics. Officially, the two countries do not speak.
has grown. Today,
The government of mainland China does not much of the world
cooperates no matter
recognize Taiwan as a country, even though the
what the politics of
people of Taiwan elect their own president and have the country are. Some
say that this is a good
their own government. Unofficially, though, the two
thing. Others say that
Chinas are locked in a close economic relationship. politics should never be
ignored.
Examining a single part for the iPod makes
What do you think?
this relationship clear. The outer shell of an iPod

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 11


is made of aluminum, a light, strong metal. This
earning
shell must be strong enough to protect the delicate
I &
nnovation
Skills electronic components inside the iPod yet light
While many MP3
enough to make it easy to carry around. Apple
players are made in
China by Taiwanese turned to a Taiwanese company that specialized
companies, other
in aluminum die casting—a process that uses
countries play important
roles as well. Much pressure to make a strong, lightweight aluminum
of the technology that
product. The company, Catcher Technology, has its
runs the players comes
from Western nations. headquarters in Taiwan, but operates factories in
Businessmen from
China, where labor costs are lower and workers are
Europe and the United
States often work with plentiful.
both Chinese and
Catcher relies on Chinese workers who mine
Taiwanese companies
in the production of bauxite ore—from which aluminum comes—and
these devices. Today, a
on recycling aluminum products to reuse the metal.
person willing to travel
can find a job in many Once the aluminum reaches the factories by truck, it
parts of the world.
is treated, die cast into the shape of the iPod casing,
Where would you be
willing to travel to find then shipped to a different factory for assembly.
a job?
Catcher is just a single supplier for Apple iPod
production. There are many others companies in
the long chain connecting the basic materials, like
aluminum, to the finished MP3 player.

12 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


CHAPTER THREE

F
  F


 C


Some manufacturers use recycled aluminum to make


products such as the cases for MP3 players.

“Y ou see, Fritz? Mei-ying was right. Taiwan does produce MP3


players,” claimed Anna.
“They produce the aluminum casing for the MP3 players, but what
about the guts of the device? What about the microchips or the technology
inside the MP3 player?” asked Fritz.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 13


Mei-ying and Anna smiled at one another and looked back to the
computer screen to search for more answers.
“Found it!” Mei-ying said.
“Fritz, you were right about the MP3 format. German scientists came
up with that audio format. But it still doesn’t explain how the Taiwanese
do more than just provide the pretty outer casing,” Mei-ying said.
Fritz, feeling reassured, walked over to the computer to work with Mei-
ying and Anna.
“Try that link there,” Fritz suggested. “That may tell us something
about how these Taiwanese companies work all over the world.”

Apple contracts other companies to produce its digital audio players.

14 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


Mei-ying, Anna, and Fritz continued to look for clues to how Taiwan,
China, and many other countries and companies play a role in the
production of MP3 players.

When the aluminum casing for an iPod reaches the factory, our
production story involving the tale of the two Chinas has not ended. Mei-
ying was right to be frustrated that so few people know that Taiwanese
companies produce so many high-tech products used around the globe.
Yet the complexity of global production often leaves many companies
invisible behind the name of the maker, in this case Apple. Although Apple
delivers the instructions for production and creates the technology that
runs the iPod, it contracts other companies to make its MP3 players.
Just as Mei-ying suggested, the majority of those companies are Taiwanese.
So many Taiwanese companies have set up factories in China that there are
areas—especially in the coastal provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang—where the
Taiwanese rub shoulders every day with mainland Chinese.
Companies such as Inventek and Quanta might not be household
names, but they are essential to the production of iPods. Many of these
companies retain offices in Taiwan, where they plan strategy and take care
of actually running the business. The companies also send managers to
China to train and oversee the staff of Chinese factory workers.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 15


Many people from rural villages in China are
moving to large cities to find better jobs.

Because so many people in China are moving from rural villages to


the cities in search of better jobs, it is easy for the Taiwanese factories to
find workers. These workers sometimes live in housing provided by the
company and eat in company cafeterias.
Since many of the Taiwanese managers stay in China for long periods
of time, they often bring their families and start new lives in China. As a

16 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


result, there are special schools for the
Taiwanese and many restaurants that 21Century
st

serve dishes common in Taiwan. Although Content


The practice of outsourcing—hiring
the Chinese and the Taiwanese speak the
another company, often overseas, to
same language, more than a half century supply what a company needs—makes
some people in the United States
of separation has led to slight differences
and other economically advanced
in custom. The Taiwanese, for example, countries nervous. This is because, in
many cases, jobs are going overseas,
do not celebrate China’s National Day,
too. That means there are fewer of
but they often return to Taiwan for the certain types of jobs left in the country
where the company is headquartered.
traditional Lunar New Year holiday.
The reason the jobs leave the United
The marriage of Taiwanese States is that American workers are
more expensive. Although the workers
manufacturing and Chinese workers has
see outsourcing as a bad thing, there
led to a smooth system of production. is another side to consider. Products
made overseas are cheaper. As a
And Apple contracts these Taiwanese
result, the prices of those goods are
companies to collect all the parts of an lower. This makes consumers—the
people who buy things—very happy.
iPod and assemble them in China. The
finished product then leaves China by ship
and travels to countries throughout the world, to be
sold by stores that sell Apple products. As we can see,
although Apple is an American company, its products
are really the result of a global production network.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 17


CHAPTER FOUR

A S  B P 

A cargo ship sails past the island of Hong Kong.

“I will say that it’s good that these Taiwanese companies are located in
places like China,” Anna said. “It provides a lot of people with jobs.”
“Yes, and it also involves other countries and other markets in the
production process, so the process is spread around the globe,”
Mei-ying added.

18 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


Fritz still had questions. “How many other companies help out in the
production of these gadgets?” he asked.
“Yeah, and how do they get them to be sold worldwide?” added Anna.
Mei-ying, Anna, and Fritz would have to continue searching online to
find the answers.
“It says here how the production of MP3 players involves more people
and more companies,” Mei-ying said.
“It looks like different companies create different parts,” added Anna.
“Well, let’s find out who else is involved,” suggested Fritz.

Despite the importance of Taiwanese manufacturers and Chinese labor,
the creation of an MP3 player involves many more people. The reason for
this is that some manufacturers have become so good at making certain
things that it is easier to go to them for a particular part.
As we have seen, the Taiwanese aluminum company Catcher
Technology makes the shell of the iPod. But Catcher also makes aluminum
parts for many other companies. This is a process known as specialization,
and Catcher’s specialty is aluminum products.
Other companies have different specialties. Amperex Technology, for
example, is a company based in the former British colony of Hong Kong,
an island off the southern coast of China. Hong Kong is well known for

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 19


being a bridge between Western businesses and Chinese labor. Amperex
makes batteries for iPods and for many other devices.
The battery is the essential power source for electronic products that
are not plugged into the wall. This allows them to become mobile devices,
and they can be found in everything from MP3 players to cell phones.
Since Amperex specializes in batteries, Apple buys them directly from the
company instead of making them itself.
Although the company is based in Hong Kong, Amperex itself is an
international company. It is owned by TDK Corporation, a Japanese
company. Its executives—the people who run the company—come from
many countries, including the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and
China. The main factory for Amperex is located in Dongguan, in the
southern Chinese province of Guangdong. This allows the Hong Kong
company ready access to China’s large workforce. Amperex ships the
batteries it produces to assembly plants that make products such as MP3
players, run by the Taiwanese, a little farther north in China.
The manufacturing of the MP3 player is the most essential step, but
getting it to market is very important. After all, there is no point in making
a good product if you can’t convince anyone to buy it. Makers of MP3
players therefore rely on an international sales force of people specializing
in sales and marketing, and they hire local people all over the world who

20 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


21Century
st
speak the languages and know the markets of the
countries they sell in. Apple employs thousands of
Content
Since trade between
workers around the globe to advertise its MP3 player countries has existed
for centuries, you may
and coordinate sales of the device.
wonder what’s new
Although Apple makes the most popular MP3 about globalization. The
answer, in part, is the
player, the iPod, many other companies also sell
way things are made. It
MP3 players. Competition is as natural to the is true that people have
always bought and sold
business world as it is to the school playground.
things internationally.
Companies try to outdo each other by offering But it was common in
the past for a single
products at lower prices or making new products
company to make a
with interesting new features. product from start to
finish. Today, it is more
For example, Creative Zen, a company based
common for products
in Singapore, has created an MP3 player that to be made by many
different companies
also takes photos. Archos, a company that mostly
and then put together
does business in Europe but also has offices in at assembly plants.
Companies like Apple
the United States and Asia, has created an MP3
do not try to make every
player that shoots video and takes pictures. Some part of an MP3 player,
like an old-fashioned
manufacturers are even building MP3 players
company would.
directly into sunglasses. This type of competition is Instead, the company
relies on the expertise of
forcing Apple to constantly improve its own MP3
hundreds of specialized
player to stay on top of the pack. manufacturers and buys
the parts for the products.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 21


CHAPTER FIVE

U  L

Factory workers assemble computer hard drives.

“I get it! So a lot of these companies have offices in other countries.


That’s how they manage to get the products sold worldwide and also use
workers in other countries to help out,” Fritz said, starting to put all the
pieces together.
“That’s true,” said Anna.

22 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


“But why does Apple get all of the credit and not these other
companies?” Fritz asked in a disturbed tone.
“I don’t know why. Maybe because they are a big name? I don’t think
they are trying to leave the others out, but they have to sell the product
under their name if they want it to be sold at all,” suggested Mei-ying.
Anna went to go grab her MP3 player from her backpack, while Mei-
ying and Fritz continued their search for the answers online.

If most MP3 players are manufactured in China through contracts
with the name brand, such as Apple iPod, just what is it that Apple
does? What makes it a good company, and just what should a good
company make?
These are not easy questions to answer. The complexity of
manufacturing and the global reach of large corporations have resulted
in a picture that is sometimes hard to make sense of. One thing is for
certain—business has changed in the twenty-first century.
A story from recent history helps highlight the difficult choices for
businesses today. When IBM, a giant American computer maker, decided
to sell its personal computer manufacturing business to a Chinese
company in 1994, some people cried foul. Politicians stood up and
opposed the deal, saying the Chinese were buying our national secrets.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 23


There was a lot of fuss made over whether the United States was willing to
see its computer industry move to China.
But IBM had already determined that making personal computers was
not a profitable part of its business. Manufacturing was the easy part, they
said. The harder part—thinking up new ideas and turning them into new
products—was the most profitable part of its business. Also profitable
was writing the software to run the computers. This side of the business
relied not on the cheap labor of China but on the highly skilled, and more
expensive, engineers who worked for the company in the United States.
But then why would a Chinese company want to make computers if
that wasn’t the most profitable part of the business?
The answer lies in an interesting relationship between how hard
something is to make and the amount of money it can sell for.
Economists have discovered that the less-skilled jobs, such as assembling
computer parts in a factory, earn less money for a company than the
hard stuff. That hard stuff includes the parts of the IBM company that
IBM did not sell.
So once again, why would the Chinese want to make the computers?
The answer is that they want to move up the production ladder. After
learning to make simple things, a company often tries to make more
complicated products. This can be seen in Taiwan.

24 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


Highly skilled workers are needed for tasks such
as designing software for computers.

The Taiwanese began making simple products, but they discovered


that as their skills grew, they could make more money by producing more
complicated electronic goods. Taiwanese companies, in other words, started
the climb up the production ladder.
Mei-ying’s frustration that her guests didn’t know that Taiwanese
companies made MP3 players is related to this. The reason they don’t know

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 25


is that the Taiwanese companies produce goods for
ife
other companies, like Apple Inc. But some of these
C &
areer
Skills same companies are trying to sell their products under
Government leaders
their own brand names. It can be hard to break into the
try to figure out what
will make their country market, but the greater profits spur these companies to
more competitive in a
continue climbing the production ladder.
global economy. It’s
a tricky question. But Manufacturing goods is an ever-changing
one factor that may be
process. If China runs out of cheap labor,
more important than
any other is education. companies can find workers in India or Vietnam,
As more people in a
as some have already done. But the Chinese, too,
particular country go to
school, and especially can choose to move up the production ladder,
to college, the country
just as the Taiwanese have done. The spread of
becomes more able to
benefit from a global technology and of manufacturing skills is one of
economy. This is mostly
the most remarkable aspects of globalization.
because an educated
workforce can perform And someday Mei-ying might not have to
the most profitable
explain Taiwan’s role; Taiwan’s brands will speak
aspects of business.
What does this mean for themselves.
for you? The more

education you have,
the more you can earn Fritz smiled and said, “I finally get it! Taiwan is
in your lifetime.
helping out Apple Inc., but they are also learning
how to make MP3 players themselves.”

26 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


“That’s right,” Mei-ying said. “And perhaps one
day, a Taiwanese company will come out with its 21 st
Century
own brand that will rival Apple’s iPod.” C ontent
New technology,
“For now, it’s nice to know that everyone from
like an MP3 player,
the Germans to the Taiwanese and the Americans allows us to change
the way we live. Riders
have a significant role in producing these MP3
on the subway or the
players,” said Fritz. bus can now listen to
music on the move and
Anna came back from the guest room with her
without bothering other
MP3 player in hand. “Do you two want to listen to people. This generally
creates positive feelings
some music?” she asked.
about technology. In
As she plugged the MP3 player into the stereo the Middle Eastern
emirate of Dubai, one
system and began playing music, the three students
company found Apple’s
felt good about the fact that no matter where you iPod so inspiring that
it is constructing an
are in the world, you can always enjoy hearing your
apartment building in
favorite tunes from an MP3 player. Dubai City that looks
like an iPod. It is called
“So who won the debate?” asked Anna.
the iPad.
“We all did!” Mei-ying proclaimed.

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 27


G


COLONY+/, UH NEE a place or group of people ruled by a foreign government

COMPONENTSKUHM 0/( NUHNTS parts of a machine or system

COPYRIGHT+/0 EE RITE the legal right to produce or publish a song, book, etc., so that
anyone other than the copyright holder must get permission to copy or perform the material

DIECASTING$9%+!34 ING the process of forcing molten metal into molds under
pressure to shape it

DIGITAL$)* UH TUHL characterized by electronic technology and readable by a computer

ECONOMISTSEE +/. UH MISTS people who study the production, distribution, and
consumption of goods and services in a society

HEADQUARTERS(%$ QWOR TURZ the place from which an organization, such as a


corporation, is run

LABOR,!9 BUR a group of workers who work for wages

MANUFACTUREMAN YUH &!+ CHUR to make something, usually on a large scale

MARKETS-!2 KITS places where goods or services are sold

SOFTWARE3!7&4 WAIR the programs used to run computers

TECHNOLOGYTEK ./, UH JEE the application of science and engineering to make


products

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F
 M
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Books

Dramer, Kim. People’s Republic of China. New York: Children’s Press, 2007.

Gordon, Sherri Mabry. Downloading Copyrighted Stuff from the Internet:


Stealing or Fair Use? Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 2005.

Salter, Christopher L. Taiwan. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2004.

Web Sites

HowStuffWorks: How MP3 Players Work


www.howstuffworks.com/mp3-player.htm
For more information on how MP3 players work

Highlights for Children: Cool Facts about Taiwan


www.highlightskids.com/Stories/h1taiwanPostcards/h1taiwanFacts.asp
To read fun facts about Taiwan

GLOBAL PRODUCTS: MP3 P 31


I 
Advanced Audio Coding, 7 education, 26 marketing, 18, 20–21, 26
aluminum, 12, 13, 15, 19 microchips, 10–11, 13
Amperex Technology, 19, 20 Germany, 5, 6, 14, 27 mining, 12
Apple Inc., 5, 6, 7, 12, 15, global economy, 11, 12, 17, MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III)
17, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 21, 26 format, 7, 14
27 Guangdong province, 20
Archos, 21 outsourcing, 17
assembly plants, 20, 21 Hong Kong, 19, 20
audio engineers, 6 Quanta, 15
IBM, 23, 24
batteries, 20 India, 26 sales, 20–21
bauxite ore, 12 Internet, 7, 9 software, 24
Inventek, 15 specialization, 19
Catcher Technology, 12, 19 iPad apartment building, 27
China, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, iPods, 5–7, 11, 12, 15, 17, Taiwan, 5, 6, 9–20, 24–27
15–20, 23, 24, 26 19–21, 23, 26, 27 Taiwan Strait, 11
competition, 7, 21, 26 TDK Corporation, 20
components, 10–11, 12 Jiangsu province, 15
copyrights, 7 Vietnam, 26
Creative Zen, 21 Korea, 7
Windows Media Audio, 7
die casting, 12 labor, 11, 12, 16, 17, 19,
digital storage, 6–7 20,, 24–26 Zhejiang province, 15
Dongguan, China, 20
Dubai, 27 manufacturing, 5, 9–11, 15,
17, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24,
economists, 24 25

A
  A 

2OBERT'REENis the author of three other books in this series—Cars, Skateboards, and
Bicycles—and many other books for young adults. He holds graduate degrees from New
York University and Harvard. He learned a lot about globalization while living in Taiwan,
where he studied Chinese and worked for the Taiwanese government.

32 21st CENTURY SKILLS LIBRARY


21st
Century
Skills Library
You may know the names of hundreds of songs stored in your MP3 player. But did
you know that the audio format used in MP3 Players was developed by German
scientists? Or that many MP3 players are made in factories in places like Taiwan
and China? Read this book to learn more about how MP3 players are made.
The Global Products series introduces readers to important concepts needed to
understand their place in the global economy of the 21st century. Other titles in the
series include:
• Athletic Shoes • Colas
• Bicycles • Jeans
• Cars • Skateboards
• Cell Phones

To guide your reading, look for these notes that will help build the understanding
and skills you’ll need in the 21st century. Look for the following margin notes:

Learning & Innovation Skills


You need to learn about lots of things, but you also need to learn how to
learn. These notes give you hints about how to use what you know in better
and more creative ways.

21 st Centur y Content
You study reading, math, science, and social studies. You also need to
learn about the world of work and your community. These notes tell you
about business and money. They also give you ideas about how you can
help yourself, your community, and the world.

Life & Career Skills


These notes tell you about skills you will use throughout your life. They give
you ideas about how to work well with others, make good decisions, and
achieve your goals in life.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60279-026-1
ISBN-10: 1-60279-026-4

9 781602 790261